Friday, May 19, 2006

Soba (cold)

I have a great story about cold soba noodles. When I lived in Japan, one of my Japanese friends started dating a Navy guy. We were looking for a place to eat for lunch, and decided to eat soba since this guy has never had it before. It was a fairly warm day, so we suggested that he try the cold tempura soba, since that was the restaurant's speciality. He was one of those easy going guys that was willing to try anything. The only thing I was worried about was that most of the Americans I know (including my wife) aren't a huge fan of cold noodles. But he still said he would try it. The rest of us ordered hot soba noodles or katsudon.

When the food arrived, my friend and I were caught up in some conversation, and didn't think to show the guy how to eat soba properly. He picked up the cup with soup in it, and tried to pour that over the noodles. Luckily, we caught him before he made a huge mess, and told him that he was supposed to put the noodles in the soup cup instead. My friend and I went back into our talk until we heard, "Oh man, it's not gonna fit." He was trying to shove all of the noodles into a tiny cup, and now the soup was flowing out from the top (he still managed to put about a third of noodles into a tiny cup).

OK, so I didn't tell him that you are supposed to take a small portion of the noodle and dip that into the soup each time. But come on, do the math! We were trying to be nice about it, but I just couldn't stop laughing. On top of that, he started eating tempura with his bare hand as if they were chicken strips. Despite of being laughed at, he said he enjoyed the soba, but maybe he will try the hot noodles next time since it looked much easier.

IN JAPANESE: Zaru soba
CATEGORY: Rice/Noodles
SERVES: 1 person

1 bunch of soba noodles
2 TBsp of soba tsuyu soup base
chopped green onions (optional)
some wasabi (optional)
some dried nori (optional)

To make this, you need to get some soba noodles. These are dried noodles, so they will last for a while. If you know you won't be eating much, there are smaller packages available.

I used to make soup stocks from scratch, but that takes a while (since you need to heat it up, and then cool it down), so I recently started using the soup mix, which wasn't bad. It's definitely easier.

Boil one bunch of soba noodles in a pan of boiling water. If your soba noodles didn't come pre-bunched, then you are out of luck! You are just gonna have to look at the back of the package to see how many servings are in the bag, and divide it accordingly. I know... that's pain.

While the noodle is being cooked (it should be about 5 minutes, but check the package direction, too), pour about 2 tablespoons of tsuyu soup into a soup cup. If you don't have a soup cup (like me), use the fanciest looking coffee cup that you have, or regular glass would work, too. Tsuyu soup usually needs to be diluted 3 to 4 times with water. So if you are using 2 tablespoons of tsuyu, add 6 to 8 table spoon of water.

I like lots of "topping" with my soba, so I chop some green onions and add a little wasabi into my soup. If you have fresh shiso leaves, those are great for topping, too. Just be sure to dip the noodles into the soup instead of otherwise!

1 comment:

MochiCheek said...

hahaha thats funny. I thought the edamame story was hilarious. K almost choked on his food when I told him over dinner.